Raising The Flag For This Flagship Wine

After two weeks in the bullpen, life is calming down a little.  The room is loud, like people on the other end of the phone ask me if I’m paying attention because there is so much noise in the background type of loud.  However, I have my own little space, so no one is looking over my shoulder at the computer screen, and I have a window behind me with a view of a tree that has beautiful pink flowers, so I can enjoy Spring (although without my beloved balcony).  I admit that with yesterday’s warm weather, I spent a lot of time longingly looking at those pink flowers. 

I think it was the feeling that spring had finally arrived that made me remember there was a bottle of Chrysalis Vineyard’s 2006 Viognier in the refrigerator.  Since I walked in the door before Hubby, I opened the bottle, poured a glass, sliced a chunk from the block of NY Sharp Cheddar in the fridge, grabbed my latest issue of Food & Wine, and settled-in at the little bistro table in our sunroom.  The windows were all open, so there was a nice breeze, and the afternoon sun was beating down on me.  It was perfect!

Chrysalis Vineyard is about an hour outside of DC and sits on the Loudoun and Fauquier County line in Middleburg, VA.  The website calls the Viognier Chrysalis’ “flagship” wine, and after tasting it, I’m not surprised.  The wine has a clear, medium gold color, and in a characteristic Viognier style, the strong fruity aromas rise temptingly out of the glass.  Immediately, I smelled stone fruits—peach and apricot—followed by a slightly less intense honeydew and pineapple.  There was also the smallest hint of lime and of flowers.

Upon first tasting the wine, I was struck by how the fruitiness faded in the mouth and there were only hints of the stone fruits that I found on the nose.  The tartness from the lime was surprisingly strong, although not unpleasant, and the perfume from the flowers disappeared completely.  I thought it was fresh and enjoyable, just crisper and more dominated by citrus flavors than I was expecting.

After a few more tastes and some note writing, I took a bite of my cheddar, opened my magazine, and settled in to read and sip away.  All I can say is WOW!  The sharp cheddar brought out such amazing flavors in the wine that I was surprised it was the same pour.  Suddenly, my mouth was full of white blossoms and ripe peaches.  The tart, citrusy wine from a few sips ago turned into an aromatic, full-bodied mouthful.  A smile spread across my face as I went in for another nibble of cheese and another sip of wine. 

Is this worth a glass after work? It’s worth more than one!  What are you waiting for?  At $30 a bottle, and a few more dollars for a nice sharp cheddar cheese, your money will be well spent.  Admittedly, on its own, the Chrysalis Viognier isn’t out of the ordinary, although still decent and reliable, but with the right food pairing, the wine catapulted to a glass that I just couldn’t put down.  Plus, any glass of wine that pairs well with cheese is a wine worth having in the house.

Overall: 4.5 Corks

Bubbles, Bubbles Everywhere

Sparkling wine is often seen as a purely celebratory drink, but why do you need something special to happen in order to open up some bubbly?  Sure, you might want to keep your $150 bottle of Dom Perignon for a nicer occasion, but there are some wonderful, everyday sparklers that won’t break your wallet and are worth exploring.  Granted, not everyone agrees with me. but they don’t know what they’re missing! 

There is something contagiously happy about having the bubbles dance in your mouth, which is why sparkling wine is my go-to choice both when I’ve had a rough day at work and need a pick-me-up, as well as when I’ve had one of those days where everything went right and want to have my own personal celebration.  The Canella Prosecco di Conegliano (snooth) is the perfect choice for either of these reasons.  This Italian sparkler has a clear, lemony-yellow color.  The bubbles are large, persistent, and inviting.  In the photo, you can see how clear the wine is, as that’s my countertop that you can be seen through the liquid.  You can also get a feeling for how fast the bubbles race to the top by the streaking lines inside the glass.

The Canella Prosecco has a clean smell that hints of yeast and dough.  These aromas are followed by strong, refreshing fruit smells—mostly lime, apple, and pear.  When tasting the wine, the crisp bubbles pop off the tongue.  The sparkler has a high acidity, which complements the lime and green apple flavors that fill the mouth.  Those two strong fruit flavors are followed closely with hints of grapefruit.    

Monday nights are hectic in my household, as I head to my wine class right after work.  Sometimes I can grab a quick bite of dinner beforehand, but most of the time, I don’t eat until 10pm while standing in my kitchen.  Admittedly, this past Monday night after class, I drank a glass (ok, maybe two) of this Prosecco while I was eating an American cheese sandwich.  It was a surprisingly good pairing.  The salt and creaminess of the cheese was complimented by the acidity, fruitiness, and bubbles in the wine.

Is this worth a glass after work?  It’s worth more than one!  What are you waiting for?  For $16, the Canella Prosecco di Conegliano is a crisp, refreshing sparkling wine that is enjoyable on its own or with food.  If you’re looking to eat something other than cheese (or a cheese sandwich) while drinking a glass of the Canella Prosecco, you can’t go wrong with a some seafood–maybe a pan-fried flounder or a shrimp scampi.  Either way, you should consider popping a cork, pouring a glass, and settling in for a delightful treat.

Overall: 4.5 corks